I’ve got five years of raw data on this subject because I’ve been pastoring for that many years now. Wait, I’ve got far more than five years worth of data. Scratch that. Let’s start over. I’ve been in Evangelical churches for the vast majority of my life and I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Wait. Maybe I should just frame this with a question:
Why do people arrive for worship either right on the dot (or a little after) and get up and leave immediately at the end (or just before)?
My question applies for lots of different types of people, including the “I’m just looking for the right church to join” to the “I’m a super mature Christian who loves Jesus and Scripture oh-so-much.” This question equally applies to those who are getting their toes wet and are testing the water of “religion.” Allow me to address these three types of people and push back on some of their thinking (and attitudes and actions).
Also, I realize that I’m overstating my case, here, to make a point. Perhaps some of you don’t even realize you are doing what you are doing since most of us often don’t realize we’re doing what we’re doing. Just read on and consider these ideas here. And please, please, puhlease do not assume I am talking about people who have an appointment or a family function after a church gathering once in awhile. I know things come up and I am encouraged when people make family a priority. But if you are constantly leaving and constantly avoiding the elusive activity of “fellowship,” you may want to consider these ideas more fully…
The “I’m just looking for the right church to join” crowd.
I don’t understand these people because if they are looking for the right church shouldn’t they get to actually know the church? Wait, maybe I’m still assuming that most people realize that the church isn’t a building, it’s the people. Hasn’t that idea become well attested in the majority of our churches? Maybe not. Perhaps that’s my error.